Fall’n for Oxford

Ethan Gaines
Virginia Program at Oxford
England 2019

Overall, I am very happy that I decided to study abroad in Oxford for six weeks. While the program was certainly very challenging, it was a very rewarding experience and I am grateful to Hampden-Sydney for providing me with this opportunity. The stereotype of Oxford being an unexciting city where the only things to do are study and attend lectures is very wrong. University Park and the Thames and Cherwell Rivers provide excellent places to relax and hang out with friends, and there are numerous bars and pubs throughout the city to occupy your nights. Through six weeks, Oxford was an amazing place to live, and I could definitely see myself living there in the future.
Studying abroad will most certainly broaden your perspective of the world, as you will meet new people and experience new and different cultures. For the Virginia Program at Oxford, one of the most common talking points between the students and the visiting lecturers or professors were the subtle and major differences between education in England and in the United States. You also learn a ton about yourself while abroad, such as how you would quickly adapt to a brand-new environment, and whether or not traveling interests you in the future.
What I will miss most from my time abroad in Oxford are the relationships I made with not only my peers, but with the professors and tutors as well. I will also miss the amazing food that the cultural hub of Oxford provided to us, and also the amazing pubs. What I will not miss is the four-flight staircase climb to my room every night, the complex laundry system, and the supremely English food in the St. Anne’s dining hall.
As for general advice to future students studying abroad, I would suggest researching any type of restaurant, store, or park you would like to visit in advance, and to visit it as soon as possible because time moves very quickly while abroad. Looking back on it, the six weeks I spent in England feels like a weekend, and I sometimes do wish I was able to do more with my time there.

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